Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sharing A Love of the Savior

Recent discussion about reverence brought something very important to mind. When we talk about teaching our children reverence, we seem to resign ourselves to simply teaching a respect for the church building. We tend to focus on the outward evidences of quiet, respectful actions rather than the motivation that leads to what others can see. I think this is true because we struggle to truly teach respect for or love of the Savior. We settle for something far inferior.

So the question comes down to this. How do you teach this respect for or love of the Savior? Love of the Savior is probably one of the most important aspects of anyone's testimony. Our children aren't an exception. If we can convey to them a foundation of this critical detail, then we've helped our children gain a solid testimony on which they can build a strong spiritual life.

My life would have been far easier had I been the benefactor of such. I'm not suggesting my parents failed or that they even did anything wrong. However, there was definitely a period in my life when I rejected just about everything they had to offer. Interestingly, it was the gospel that anchored me in a way that my wanderings always tended to lead me back home.

What is the secret? What can we as parents do to help our children not only understand the gospel but build a personal love of the Savior? Family Home Evening and regularly reading the scriptures as a family. That's the answer. That is where it starts; that is where it ends.

Introducing basic gospel principles to children starting at a very young age and continuing through their adolescence will provide ample opportunity to expose them to the Savior's love. This is not rocket science but it is something that needs to be done from an early age and made a consistent part of their lives through out their entire childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. We need to seek opportunities to help our children recognize the spirit. Incorporating their lives into the Family Home Evening lessons makes the lessons relevant. Focusing family scripture readings on those subjects that might have greater meaning at particular times can also be instrumental in helping convey the feelings we need our children to feel.

One more thing. Parents do not share their testimony enough. Our youth need to see our testimonies in action, this is so very important. We tend to also forget that it is through hearing the testimonies we have the opportunity for the spirit to convey the truthfulness of that testimony to our hearts. Our actions are important, so very important but if the young people do not hear the words, they miss out on that most important opportunity to feel the confirming message that is only possible through the spirit. Our children must see our testimonies in action, hear our testimonies in word and feel our testimonies in spirit. Through feeling our testimonies in spirit, they can gain their own testimony of the redeeming love of our savior.

I could see my father's testimony, as he was a very active man in the gospel. I heard him speak about the gospel a lot but the times he bore his testimony were few. I think he missed many opportunities to share his testimony in spirit with my siblings and me.
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